Herbal supplements and drug interactions

This table shows popular herbal supplements and interactions with common heart medications. It's not a complete list, however, so be sure to discuss with your doctor the medications and supplements you take.

Herbal supplementMedicationPotential effect
Garlic
  • Aspirin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
Increases risk of bleeding
Ginkgo
  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
Increases risk of bleeding
Ginseng
  • Warfarin
Decreases effectiveness of warfarin
Hawthorn
  • Beta blockers, such as atenolol (Tenormin), nadolol (Corgard) and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL)
Increases blood pressure and heart rate
  • Calcium channel blockers, such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, others), nifedipine (Procardia) and verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS,Verelan)
  • Nitrates, such as nitroglycerin (Nitro-Bid, Nitrostat,others) and isosorbide (Monoket, Isordil)
Decreases blood pressure
  • Digoxin (Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin)
Increases effects of digoxin
Licorice
  • Warfarin
Decreases levels of warfarin
St. John's wort
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Digoxin
  • Warfarin
  • Dabigatran (Pradaxa)
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto)
  • Statins, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor) and simvastatin (Zocor)
Reduces effectiveness of drugs

Playing it safe with herbal supplements

If your doctor tells you it's OK to use an herbal supplement combined with a medication, make sure you follow dosing instructions carefully. Watch for any unusual signs or symptoms that you could be having a drug interaction, such as rapid heartbeat, low blood sugar or changes in blood pressure.

Nov. 04, 2011 See more In-depth